Cummings Issues Statement on IG Report on Trump Administration Child Separation Policy
Washington, D.C. (Jan. 17, 2019)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, issued the following statement in response to a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General on the Trump Administration’s immigrant child separation policy:
“We do not know—and may never know—the full extent of the harm inflicted by the Trump Administration on these immigrant children over the last two years. According to this new report, the Trump Administration may have separated ‘thousands’ more children from their families than previously known. In fact, the Administration has no idea how many children were separated from their parents, and the efforts to reunify them are hindered by an ‘absence’ of a system to track these families. I have been seeking information that would help reunify these children since last year, but the Trump Administration refuses to comply. As Chairman, I will do everything in my power to obtain the documents I’ve requested to ensure the Administration is held accountable for this callous and immoral policy.”
Below are highlights from the new report:
This report sheds further light on October 2018 reports from the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office, which found that the Trump Administration had no plans to track separated children, made false statements about the ability to track these children, and did not plan for higher numbers of children in HHS custody despite HHS officials raising alarms for more than a year.
In addition to work by the HHS Inspector General, there are ongoing reviews by both the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice Inspectors General, requested by Cummings and other top Democrats on June 29, 2018. Unfortunately, DHS and DOJ Inspectors General operations are severely hindered by the government shutdown.
Cummings has also repeatedly sought information and documents from the Administration on separated children, most recently in a December 19, 2018, letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen, Acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex M. Azar II. To date, no agency has complied with these requests.
Click here to read today’s Inspector General report.